I have noticed lately this internal agitation. Perhaps it’s the lack of spending time outside feeling the warm sun on my skin. Or it’s the shortened daylight — encouraging lights out in my world by 9 p.m. Maybe it’s the constant exposure to dry air making my 51-year-old skin look strikingly like the raisins I put in my yogurt each morning.
Whatever the reason for my internal agitation, I can’t help wonder how this constant connection to electronics is playing a role? I have been finding myself longing for time to just “Be” — bathing in the sound of silence, unreachable by others who want or need something from me; longing to wake to the sounds of the birds as opposed to the electronic buzz of my phone; shop uninhibited by external amplified music that all sounds like the same beat; or go to restaurant without hearing the sound of a TV somewhere in the background.
Recently I knew that I had reached my threshold while shopping at a home decorating store. Here I was minding my own business. I only had one hour to spend doing something that I thoroughly enjoy, pulling together colors and textures that would inspire a newly revitalized living room. When all of sudden I looked up and there was my 17-year-old son looking frantic.
I thought something serious had happened until he burst out, “Mom what are you doing? Dad was trying to get a hold of you and you didn’t answer your cell phone.”
I responded by asking what the problem was, was anyone hurt.
“No, no one‘s hurt but Dad needed to ask you a question and when you didn’t answer your phone I thought something happened!”
“How did you find me?” I asked.
He said he used the Find your Phone app to locate where I was.
Let me preface this by explaining that three years ago I was involved in a car accident and so each time I don’t answer my phone my family immediately goes back to that day. That said, what the heck did our parents (or we) do back in the day when portable phones weren’t available to reach anyone at anytime, anyplace? How did we develop the “trust” muscle that tells us just because someone is a little late or unreachable it does not mean tragedy!
Perhaps this constant, immediate availability is creating a world where we are losing the ability to “Be” with uncomfortable feelings or emotions? This need to engage with everything all the time is not allowing us to feel bored, unsettled and patient. I see it in my children while riding in the car. If a car ride takes more than 10 minutes, immediately they are on their devices, chatting or checking something. A client recently shared that while practicing his homework, which was to just walk outside as opposed to jog with headphones on, he noticed for the first time in two years, trees and animals he had never noticed before. A neighbor smiled at him and he heard the sound of children laughing.
What would it look and feel like to have one day a week where we practiced electronic detox. Could you do it? I suspect it would be uncomfortable at first but the freedom it may bring … Who knows, we may discover something about ourselves that we lost connection with or something in our environment that we never noticed before … Are you up for the challenge?
Here’s to Just “Being”
The Buddhist say to practice mindfulness means that when you sit, you just sit!
When you drive the car, you’re not driving the car, talking on the phone, listening to music while eating breakfast and putting on your makeup.